Scientists find a diet linked to lower breast cancer risk

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Scientists from Sun Yat-sen University found that a diet high in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is associated with a reduced risk for breast cancer among women in China.

They examined the associations between breast cancer risk and intake of n-3 PUFAs in Chinese women.

They tested 1,589 cases and 1,621 women with no breast cancer. A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to assess dietary data.

The researchers found a link between a higher intake of marine n-3 PUFAs and total n-3 PUFAs with a lower risk for breast cancer.

Dietary alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid were also linked with a lower breast cancer risk.

In addition, the benefits were stronger for younger women and women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, progesterone receptor (PR)-positive, and ER-positive PR-positive tumors.

In obese and overweight women, but not in women of normal weight, the team found a reduced risk for breast cancer was strongly linked to increasing n-3 PUFA intake.

The team says this study highlights the effect of lifestyle habits and, specifically, dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids on breast cancer risk.

Most health benefits of N-3 fatty are thought to derive from EPA and DHA.

N-3 fatty acids can inhibit the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines. They further appear to modify the electrical activity of heart muscle, possibly reducing the tendency for heart rhythm disorders.

In addition, N-3 fatty acids may moderately reduce blood pressure. In high doses, they reduce serum triglyceride levels, which could further reduce the risk for CVD.

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The research was published in Menopause and conducted by Zhuo-Lin Zhang et al.

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